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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GMO’s: Scare Mongering at Its Worst! Part III

By Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural worldon July 27, 2014.

He claims "genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a serious threat to humanity and the environment? The reasons span the realms of science, social justice, economics and the environment, and once you understand this, you'll readily understand why so many environmentalists, humanitarians, responsible scientists and social justice advocates are strongly opposed to GMOs", and lists ten reasons why? This is a ten part series. Here is Part I and Part II.

He next claims that, “GMOs transform farming freedom into farming servitude” and then goes on to say:

Because GMOs are sold with an intellectual property restriction that prevents farmers from saving their own seeds, they invoke "economic servitude" where farmers are forced to buy expensive new seeds each year from the GMO seed supplier.

As a result, farming practices (like seed saving) that have sustained humanity since the dawn of civilization are now being criminalized. And when GM crops fail, as they frequently do, the economic burden placed upon farmers is often too much to bear. That's why farmer suicides have skyrocketed in India among farmers who bought GMO seeds.

Reportedly, over 270,000 suicides have already happened in India due to crop failures, and more happen every day.

First of all, no one is required to buy these products, in spite of any international agreements. Secondly, Monsanto doesn’t have a monopoly on GMO’s in India since Indians are actually creating their own GMO’s, so Indian farmers have large choices.

This is another failure of logic and another lie of omission. The Health Ranger keeps claiming “organic” agriculture is exploding all over the world, including India, when in reality it’s only increasing amonga rising health-consciousness among Indian consumers, rising disposable income due to globalization of markets, and an expanding middle class in the nation of more than 1 billion people”.

In short, they’re just as gullible to the green propaganda as foolish Americans who waste their money in places like Whole Foods. Organic produce doesn’t taste any better, it isn’t any healthier or better for our bodies than foods produced with modern agricultural processes including GMO’s, and in point of fact, they’re using pesticides such as the copper pesticides, which is accumulative in the soil because unlike synthetics, copper doesn't break down.   Copper is one of those heavy metals they scream about. Does anyone besides me see a problem with consistency of thought here? Oh yes, they use a number of pesticides inorganic farming -“The only difference is that they're "natural" instead of "synthetic." At face value, the labels make it sound like the products they describe are worlds apart, but they aren't. A pesticide, whether it's natural or not, is a chemical…….Sadly, however, "natural" pesticides aren't as effective, so organic farmers actually end up using more of them!

Now, for the most outrageous claim of all thatfarmer suicides have skyrocketed in India among farmers who bought GMO seeds”, giving the impression GMO's were somehow responsible for all these deaths.  This link is an emotional picture story, but read the article carefully and it becomes clear these suicides were caused by worldwide agriculture economics and failed crops due to bad weather conditions.

The reality is this - linking GMO’s to these farmer’s suicides is a logical fallacy known as “correlation is causation”. As one writer noted:

“The correlation between farmers committing suicide in India and the introduction of GMO cotton in the country has become widely accepted. Two documentaries, Seeds of Suicide and Bitter Seeds center around the phenomenon. In less direct ways, GMOs are mentioned in nearly every article about these suicides in major media outlets. But a new study from The Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research (PDF) challenges these assumptions and lends more weight to the argument that the correlation is unfounded. But will it make a difference?"

The analysis reveals considerable variation in trends in suicide rates across the nine cotton-growing states. The data, although not ideal, and the modeling do not, however, support the claim that GM cotton has led to an increase in farmer suicide rates: if anything the reverse is true. The Indian farmer suicide story has become received wisdom for some anti-GM campaigners.

In fact, we find that the suicide rate for male Indian farmers is slightly lower than the non-farmer rate. And Indian suicide rates as a whole, although contested, do not appear to be notably high in a world context. The pattern of changes in suicide rates over the last 15 years is consistent with a beneficial effect of Bt cotton for India as a whole albeit perhaps not in every cotton-growing state.

This isn’t a unique or shot in the dark study with no supporting science behind it. In 2008 the International Food Policy Research Institute found similar results saying:

Suicides in general, including farmers’ suicides, are a sad and complex phenomenon. Hence, their underlying causes need to be addressed within an equally complex societal framework. Here, we provide a specific case study on the potential link between technological choices and farmer suicides in India. Although officially recognized for having increased production and farmers’ income, Bt cotton, genetically modified, insect-resistant cotton, remains highly controversial in India. Among other allegations, it is accused of being the main reason for a resurgence of farmer suicides in India.

We first show that there is no evidence in available data of a “resurgence” of farmer suicides in India in the last five years. Second, we find that Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. However, the context in which Bt cotton was introduced has generated disappointing results in some particular districts and seasons. Third, our analysis clearly shows that Bt cotton is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides. In contrast, many other factors have likely played a prominent role. Nevertheless, in specific regions and years, where Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides, its failure was mainly the result of the context or environment in which it was planted.

"It’s a complicated issue and it’s perhaps natural to desire a clearcut villain: GMOs. Keith Kloor at Discover Magazine’s website wrote in an article last year title: The Real Seeds of Deception:"

In Keith Kloor’s article, The GMO-Suicide Myth, he notes:
the suicide rate among male farmers in the nine main cotton-growing states was just under 30 per 100,000 in 2011. That is about the same as suicide rates among farmers in France and Scotland, so Indian farmers do not seem unusual……Nor is there any sign that suicides rates changed significantly after 2002, when GM cotton began to be introduced.

This has been an insidiously mendacious effort by the environmental movement to blacken the reputation of agricultural products that are working wonders for humanity and an attempt to brand Monsanto as a criminal organization, neither of which be held responsible for anyone’s suicide, let alone farmers in India.

Tragic as this is, these farmers made a business decision that turned out badly compounded by “very complex equation that includes institutional, social, and governmental factors in India.”

How many really successful years did they have as a result of GMO cotton? I don’t know and he doesn’t say, but there must have been many years of success after success since the acceptance curve in India for transgenic plants is so high Indian farmers must not believe GMO's are destructive, or they wouldn’t use them. Every year more and more farmers are moving to transgenics because they work and all these anti-GMO claims are false! 

Now the Health Ranger can’t have it both ways. If organic is so great why did they buy these expensive products in the first place? Would their crops have failed due to bad weather conditions and all the other problems Indian farmers face if they were organic?

Did anyone ever see what happens to a non-transgenic cotton crop when weevils attack? They will destroy every plant within sight.  In one Indian state the only cotton plants left standing were GMO’s.  What alternatives do eco-activists like Vandana Shiva and Health Ranger Mike Adams offer?  Remember – all those farmers using “organic” methods were wiped out.  What exactly are the goals of these anti-GMO activists?  One thing seems to be glaringly clear.  Doing good things for the Indian farmer isn’t among them.

As for the patent argument on GMO’s these activists despise so badly - that’s a back door to getting rid of GMO’s. If these companies can’t patent these genetic modifications there will be no GMO’s because there will be no money, and that’s what they really want.   They don’t care about these poor people who have committed suicide, but they push this myth because it fortifies the narrative they’re promoting. And no matter how much information comes forth to expose the speculations, the lies of commission, the lies of omission and all the logical fallacies, this false narrative is one that’s difficult to break.

Please view this video, which takes an hour, but it's a fast hour and well worth the time, in spite of the fact his leftist prejudices show at the end. 

Here are the links to the entire series:   Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI,Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX and Part X

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